I just received this email from a young women. She writes, “I guess I’ve been wanting to run from God. Others see Him as gentle but I see Him with a whip in His hand ready to hit me. I can’t trust anyone I can’t see, if that makes sense. I’m just not happy with Him right now. Don’t want much to do with Him. Just being honest.”
I’ve known this woman for a while. She grew up in church and may have even placed her faith in Jesus Christ. But a series of bad circumstances left her depressed and discouraged, lonely and fearful. Maybe you can relate to her completely transparent and honest expression of what she thinks about God. Or maybe you know someone who’s in the same boat.
After hours of contemplating how to respond, I decided to take it to a blog post, where these same questions might reach more people. Are there more like her? Am I sometimes like her? I don’t always like God’s ideas for my life (but I know it’s only because I do not understand them) nor His timing, which I’ll admit I think is sometimes slow! (Again, I don’t know everything but I trust Him and know His timing is perfect!)
Without a degree in theology or counselling, I can only share what I’ve learned about God throughout my personal spiritual journey—which includes ups and downs, mountains and valleys.
If you believe there’s a God you probably fall into one of these two categories: you know Christ personally as your Savior and have a relationship with him, or you only know “about Him”…maybe even growing up in church and learning Bible stories, but never actually applying them to your life and now, as a result, you’re spiritually defeated. Regardless, I’ve learned that when hard times hit, there’s no better place to run than to run to God! This doesn’t mean I understand the pain. You may not know for sure if God will take notice and receive you with open arms (He will) but do it anyway. For me, I would rather run to him than away. I wouldn’t want to live ONE DAY ON EARTH WITHOUT HIM. Now, that would just be scary.
Second, the idea that God has a whip ready to beat us, is a lie straight from Satan. He wants you to believe this outrageous lie so you won’t take God into your life and accept his free gift and love. It is true that God is a mighty God. It is true that He hates sin. But there’s a difference in hating sin and hating the sinner. God wouldn’t have allowed his beloved Son to be tortured on a cross for me and you if he didn’t love us, have compassion on us, and want to spend eternity with us! It is true that God says, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7 (ESV) Like an earthy Father, he disciplines those He loves. He does not wish for us to remain in sin. He wants us to be obedient and be blessed.
It is also a fact that as humans it is difficult to put our trust in other humans, especially if we’ve been burned! God is not human. He is completely worthy of our trust. There is not one thing He said he would do and didn’t.
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
God keeps His promises. He alone can see the future. Trusting Him may not be easy, but that’s what faith is. It is trusting in what we cannot see.
None of this is easy. It is a process that is developed over time as we mature as Christians. But I challenge you to make a choice. Make a definitive decision to follow Christ. Then, tell Him you are struggling with trust issues. Tell Him to reveal Himself to you. I know that He will. But the ball is in your court. You’ve got to make a definitive choice. Satan is fighting hard to destroy you and our emotions are an easy target. John 10:10a says, Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy. That about sums it up. That’s what’s happening here. Satan screams lies and we believe them. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. I John 4:4 (NIV).
Be done with this, once and for all. So you sinned. So you messed up. We all have. If you have not done so yet, repent. Tell God you’re sorry and that from this point on you want Him to lead your life. You’re not made to understand everything. We cannot understand God’s ways. Don’t trust in the circumstances. Trust the One who holds those circumstances. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10b (NASB)
Romans 8:28 says, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).
This doesn’t mean all “your stuff” is good, but it means that collectively your bad stuff will become good.
Make the decision today. Tell God the truth… He knows it anyway. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you, and help you believe.
I am praying for all who read this. God bless you…really.